Ep026: Dr. Margaret Cary on Turning Doctors Into Leaders

By April 18, 2017Podcast

Lets face it. When it comes to addressing education, the medical profession is a bit behind the ball.  While the field of medicine is innovating at exponential rates, the way we train doctors is still moving at a snails pace. My esteemed guest today, Dr. Margaret “Maggi” Cary, is a world renowned leadership coach who knows a thing or two when it comes to the required attributes to become a successful (and happy) physician in a rapidly evolving industry.

On todays show, Maggi and I attempt to define the role of the future physician, what attributes are necessary for success, and why leadership is a critical skill that has historically not been taught to medical professionals. Maggi also explains why coaching is in high demand within the health profession, and even shares a few of her own professional techniques on how to lead.

Join me today while Maggi and I go deep into exploring how we can create leaders out of doctors to meet the future demands of an ever-changing profession.  All this and more on today’s episode.

Now, That’s Unusual.

About Dr. Margaret Cary

Dr. Margaret Cary is a passionate educator with a physician’s mind and a friend’s heart. As a leadership coach, she blends a scientist’s thinking with a caregiver’s empathy. She is a ferocious learner and serial focuser with a lifelong passion for sharing what she’s learned. She is an inspirational motivator, occasional humorist, and excellent listener and storyteller. She is internationally known as an engaging speaker who translates the latest research in leadership development and adult learning into entertaining and highly interactive presentations. She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Certificate program, an author, trainer, facilitator and professor (Georgetown University School of Medicine). Her clients include physician leaders at MedStar, Mayo Clinic, University of Massachusetts Medical School, American Medical Informatics Association, Samueli Institute, Association of American Medical Colleges, Harvard Medical School, Dubai Medical College, Bon Secours and others.

She is passionate about her work with medical students and, with Jack Penner, the medical student she is coaching, has created a program for A Whole New Doctor. Learn about Jack and Maggi’s work with Millennial medical students.

Key Interview Takeaways

The coach’s job involves holding up a mirror and asking questions. In medical school, students are taught to be the boss, but management roles require collaboration. As a leadership coach, Cary pivots among the roles of facilitator, mediator and consultant with the goal of helping organizations become more effective.

Perception is reality. What we see in ourselves may not align with what others see, but at the end of the day it’s what others see that matters – even if they’ve climbed the ‘ladder of inference’ to form an inaccurate opinion.

The skill set necessary to be a good doctor is different from that of a good manager. Good doctors have a certain amount of knowledge, an ability to see patterns and possibilities, and they are curious, lifelong learners. To be a good manager, one has to be comfortable with chaos and risk, making decisions with incomplete information.

While the field of medicine is innovating at an exponential rate, the way doctors are trained has remained fairly stagnant. Cary’s Whole New Doctor initiative supports medical students with leadership coaching, instruction in polarity thinking, and meditation training. The program is student-run, and all of the participants and instructors are volunteers.

‘Just shut up and listen.’ Doctors are trained to fix things, to employ differential diagnosis and eliminate possibilities one by one. But leaders need to stop and observe, to pay attention to body language as well as words, and simply pay attention.


The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

Fast Company Article

Dell Medical School at UT—Austin

Telemedicine and Telehealth: Principles, Policies, Performance and Pitfalls by Adam Darkins and Margaret Cary

Connect with Dr. Margaret Cary

Connect on LinkedIn


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